Tripura government likely to probe temple's missing assets

Indo Asian News Service

Agartala, Jan 18 (IANS) The Tripura government is likely to probe "missing cash, precious ornaments and assets" deposited in the past 70 years by the devotees in the Mata Tripura Sundari Temple, an official said on Friday.

Former Tripura King Maharaja Dhanya Manikya (1463 to 1515) built the Tripura Sundari Temple, 60 km south of Agartala, in 1501.

A delegation of leaders of the opposition Congress led by Saumitra Biswas late on Thursday met Gomati District Magistrate (DM) Tarun Kanti Debnath and demanded a probe.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also voiced suspicions about the "too small available cash, assets and valuables" of the temple.

The scion of Tripura's Manikya dynasty Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debburman has also strongly demanded a proper audit.

"I will forward the matter to the Temple Trust. There is no register and record of cash, ornaments and assets deposited by the people in the past seven decades," DM Debnath told IANS .

"In August last year, the district administration counted the missing cash, precious ornaments and assets of the 518 year old temple. But we had observed that the available cash, precious ornaments and assets are too little compared to the lakhs of devotees and visitors depositing huge valuable ornaments including gold and huge cash amounts every year."

After the BJP-led government assumed office in March 2018, the Mata Tripura Sundari Temple Development Committee has been replaced by the board of trustees -- Mata Tripura Sundari Temple Trust.

Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb is the chairman of the 1-member trust.

BJP spokesman Nabendu Bhattacharjee told the media that the Chief Minister has also expressed doubts.

"Previous ruling CPI-M and Congress leaders had managed the cash, assets and valuables of the temple. Like other famous temples in India, there was no recorded management of it," Bhattacharjee said.

At the end of the 517-year rule by 184 kings, on October 15, 1949, the erstwhile princely state Tripura came under the control of the Indian government after a merger agreement signed between Kanchan Prabha Devi, then regent maharani, and the Indian Governor General.

The merger agreement made it mandatory for the Tripura government to continue the sponsorship of many temples including the Mata Tripura Sundari Temple run by the Hindu princely rulers. This continued for around seven decades.

A full-fledged division - "Public Place of Worship (PPW)" or "Debarchan Vibhag" - under district magistrates in four of Tripura's eight districts now bears this responsibility and the entire expenditure of several temples.

--IANS

sc/ksk/bg